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DEFENSE KEY FOR FRIARS IN 2015

Taking 2nd place in 2014 was a big accomplishment for the FD Friars, riding a league best defense and a potent offense behind young talent. In 2015, the Friars have a new look offense behind a new signal caller but the same strong defense set to shutdown the league once more.

By Robert Balajadia

Explosive runningback De'Aundre Cruz is back for his sophomore season. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Explosive running back De’Aundre Cruz is back for his sophomore season. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Taking 2nd place in 2014 was a big accomplishment for the FD Friars, riding a league best defense and a potent offense behind young talent. In 2015, the Friars have a new look offense behind a new signal caller but the same strong defense set to shutdown the league once more.

As much success as the Friars had last season, head coach Bruce Meno has put everything about 2014 behind him.

“Last year was a stepping stone and a learning experience and nothing else but that. All the other teams are competitive and it’s anyone’s game this year. We just need to make sure we gel and peak, most importantly in the playoffs,” said Meno.

The most noticeable changes to the Friars are on the offensive end having lost their starting and back up quarterback from last season. Previous starter Jujuan King and backup Ricky Brown are no longer with the Friars with King suiting up for the Guam High Panthers and Brown for the JFK Islanders.

“We’ve got a sophomore quarterback named Daniel Phillips. He doesn’t have experience playing high school football, but he did play in the GNYFF.”

Brown will meet his former team Saturday night when the season officially kicks off at the GW field and the defense is fired up to greet Brown this season.

The ground attack for the Friars flourished last season behind a polished and experienced offensive line. They have lost some important pieces on the line, but their backfield remains just as explosive behind the legs of sophomore De’Aundre Cruz and new coming runners in Leon Shimizu and Jake Benito.

The defensive line from Pierre Aflague and Kobe Tupaz to linebackers Joaquin Mesa and R.J. Rokop will bolster the Friars ‘Maroon Wall’ all season long.

“Our defense is our pride and joy and it’s the most important thing. We’re going to rely on them and our special teams this year and they are going to pace our way this season,” said Meno.

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Defensive tackle Pierre Aflague is ready to fill the defensive stat sheet this season. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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The ND Royals have only lost one soccer game in the past four years (2016-2019), which was an early season loss to the St. Paul Warriors in 2019. ND was coming into 2020 as the four-time defending champions.

The ND Royals on their victory lap after defeating the Academy Cougars 3-2 to become four-time IIAAG Girls High School Soccer Champions. (Photo by Michael Blas)

 

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